After a nasty split with the Boston Red Sox, Manny Ramirez is Hollywood-bound. The Los Angeles Dodgers acquired the enigmatic slugger Thursday, giving up two minor leaguers in a startling, three-team trade that sent outfielder Jason Bay from Pittsburgh to Boston.
The Dodgers also received cash considerations, general manager Ned Colletti said, in a deal that was completed just before the 4 p.m. EDT deadline for making trades without waivers.
The Red Sox will pay the estimated $7 million owed to Ramirez through the end of the season, at which time he can become a free agent. Ramirez was in the final guaranteed year of an eight-year, $160 million contract, and the Red Sox held $20 million options for the next two seasons.
As part of the trade, the club options were eliminated.
So when all was said and done, the Dodgers picked up a summer rental they hope will give them a shot at improving upon a woeful postseason track record in the past 20 years. Since winning the 1988 World Series, they've made just four playoff appearances and won only one postseason game.
"We figured we had to do it," Colletti said before the Dodgers opened a four-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks in a matchup of the NL West's top teams. "There was obviously a point in time that you have to make a major decision. We did and we were glad we did it. Hopefully it pays dividends. We're confident we've got one of the best hitters in baseball coming in here _ one of the best hitters of his generation from the right side.
"He's a champion, he's a winner, and we really couldn't be happier with trying to make the club better at this point in time than to do this. We wanted this player at least for the next two months, and hopefully longer. So we're willing to take the chance and go with this guy."
In return, the Red Sox got the 29-year-old Bay, a two-time All-Star who was hitting .282 with 22 home runs and 64 RBIs for Pittsburgh. Tampa Bay pursued Bay before he wound up with the Red Sox, who trail the first-place Rays by three games in the AL East.
The last-place Pirates, looking for young talent, received reliever Craig Hansen and outfielder Brandon Moss from Boston and third baseman Andy LaRoche and pitcher Bryan Morris from the Dodgers. LaRoche, Moss and Hansen will join Pittsburgh, while Morris will go to Class A Hickory.
Colletti said he hadn't spoken with Ramirez as of late Thursday afternoon, but said he had been told by agent Scott Boras that the 12-time AL All-Star was "thrilled to be here."
"We expect him to be here tomorrow and most likely play," Colletti said.
As of early Thursday, it appeared Ramirez might be on his way to the Florida Marlins. But when those talks fizzled, the Red Sox and Pirates found a willing third partner in the Dodgers.
Colletti said Boston general manager Theo Epstein got in touch with him early Thursday.
"It really wasn't many hours at all," Colletti said. "Theo reached out to me in midmorning and wanted to gauge our interest, and I said, `You know what? We have an interest.' Then, we probably spent the next two-plus hours hammering it out. This wasn't on the board for very long."
Ramirez, the MVP of the 2004 World Series, remains one of baseball's best hitters and has enjoyed plenty of big moments in October. But his relationship with the Red Sox soured _ again _ in recent months.
So now, Manny can be Manny on the West Coast.
"Manny being Manny can also mean he'll hit a lot of home runs and drive in a lot of runs," Colletti said.
Dodgers infielder Nomar Garciaparra, who played for the Red Sox from 1996-2004, said he's always had the utmost respect for Ramirez, who helped Boston win another title last year.
"It's nice to see we've done something like this, to make a push for the next two months," Garciaparra said. "I think he'll be just fine. Manny is really a simple person. He works extremely hard. He just wants to play baseball and go home and be with his family. How can you not respect and love a guy like that?"
Even before landing Ramirez, Los Angeles had a crowded outfield. Dodgers manager Joe Torre has been juggling Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Andruw Jones and Juan Pierre.
"When a player like Manny becomes available, I don't think there's a manager in baseball who wouldn't say they're interested," said Torre, whose Yankees teams went toe-to-toe with Ramirez for years. "Manny's certainly not a simple personality, that's for sure. He's complex. But I've seen him when he competes."
The Dodgers, who began the day one game behind the Diamondbacks, were seeking a big bat. Boston, in the middle of the AL East race and chasing a second straight World Series title, wanted a productive hitter in return and got that in Bay.
The 36-year-old Ramirez hit his 500th home run this season. He was batting .299 and led the Red Sox with 20 homers and 68 RBIs. He is one of eight players to hit at least 20 homers in 14 consecutive seasons.
Among active players, he ranks third in RBIs (1,672), fifth in home runs (510), sixth in on-base percentage (.409) and seventh in batting average (.312). He also ranks eighth in baseball history, and second among active players behind only Albert Pujols (.620), with a .590 slugging percentage. His 2,318 hits rank 10th among active players and his 493 doubles are tied for fourth.
"It's good for them," Arizona's Orlando Hudson said. "He's one of the greatest hitters ever to play the game. It's going to be a battle between us, starting tonight."
Ramirez has made it clear in recent days he wanted out of Boston. Perhaps the final straw came Wednesday, when he told ESPNdeportes: "The Red Sox don't deserve a player like me. During my years here I've seen how they have mistreated other great players when they didn't want them to try to turn the fans against them."
The often contentious relationship between player and team included Ramirez requesting trades after the 2005 and 2006 seasons. Earlier this year, he knocked down team traveling secretary Jack McCormick in the visitors' clubhouse before a game in Houston when he asked for tickets, the Providence Journal reported.
The Pirates looked to the future with their acquisitions.
Hansen, a 24-year-old right-hander, was 1-3 with two saves and a 5.58 ERA in 32 games. A first-round draft choice in 2005, he became the first Boston player to reach majors in the year he was picked.
LaRoche, the younger brother of Pirates first baseman Adam LaRoche, hit .203 with two home runs and six RBIs in 27 games for the Dodgers. A power-hitting prospect at 24, he spent most of this year at Triple-A Las Vegas.
Moss, also 24, split the season between Boston and Triple-A Pawtucket. He hit .295 with five doubles and two homers in 78 at-bats. Last year, he led the International League with 59 extra-base hits.
Morris, a 21-year-old right-hander, was 2-4 with a 3.20 ERA for Class A Great Lakes.
AP Sports Writers Howard Ulman in Boston and Alan Robinson in Pittsburgh contributed to this report.
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